Archive for June, 2014

GMO=OMG!!!

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What exactly does “GMO” mean and why is there so much controversy about it?  GMO stands for genetically modified organism.  This organism is something new, not found in nature, created by scientists.  Genetic data, also known as DNA, from an animal, plant, bacterium, or virus is inserted into a new plant, producing a plant with a completely new genetic code.  Sound like a creepy sci-fi experiment to you?  It is!  And guess who the lab rats are?  That would be us.  Unfortunately, unbeknownst to many, the experiment has been going on for quite some time already.  Hence, the controversy- should those foods be allowed at all and if so, should they be required to be labeled?

This “Franken-food” is very concerning.  Inserting genes into the DNA of a food plant is random, so scientists have no idea where the genes go. This can disrupt the functioning of other genes and create new proteins never seen before in the food supply.   Foreign proteins in the body can wreak havoc in the body producing allergies, digestive system diseases, autoimmune disorders, behavioral issues, birth defects…I could keep going, but you get the picture.  I don’t think that it is a mere coincidence that our rates of chronic disease in this country have more than doubled since GMO foods were introduced.

Scientists have created tomatoes with a longer shelf life by adding flounder genes, soybeans that are resistant to weed killers, and potatoes that produce their own pesticides.  Produce their own pesticides?  What???  Yep.  The DNA manufactures a pesticide toxin. You can’t wash this pesticide off because it is produced by every cell in the plant.  This science fiction movie is quickly turning into a horror film!  85% of all corn in this country is genetically modified to be resistant to weed killers.  That allows growers to spray as much as they want without killing their crops along with the weeds.  Other foods that are highly modified are soy (called Round-Up Ready Soy), yellow and zucchini squash, canola, sugar beets (responsible for 95% of sugar production in the U.S.), and milk.

The U.S. does not have mandatory GMO labeling, and the FDA does not require safety assessments of GMO foods or even review all GMO products hitting the market.  So, how do you avoid GMO foods?  That is a tough question.  You could move to one of the 50 countries worldwide that has completely banned GMO foods, or at least required that they be labeled, but that’s probably not a reasonable solution for most of us.  Start with buying organic foods.  Organic foods cannot be genetically modified and have no pesticides.  Here is a great website to help you avoid GMO’s:  http://www.nongmoshoppingguide.com  The fight for GMO labeling in this country is underway, but the opposing side is powerful with very deep pockets.  Learn more about GMO labeling here:  http://www.righttoknow-gmo.org

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Skip the Cereal = Healthier Baby

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We know that babies who are breast fed have a major health advantage over babies who are fed formula.  That is a fact that has been proven in countless studies.  But, what should we feed our babies when it is time to start adding food? Rice cereal has been touted as the least allergenic grain and therefore, the perfect first food for baby.  I’m sure most parents would not consider giving their babies a spoonful of white sugar as a first food, but sadly that is what they are doing if they follow current standards.  Rice cereal is an incredibly processed carbohydrate.  It is stripped of it natural nutrients to preserve it and enriched with synthetics that babies can’t even use.  It causes distress on an immature digestive system and sets it up for many problems down the road including obesity, allergies, asthma, autoimmune disorders, and behavioral disorders. Babies produce little to no amylase, the enzyme needed for grain digestion.  That is nature’s way of telling us that babies should not be consuming grains of any of kind.  They can’t be properly digested which leads to sluggishness and longer periods of sleep.  For sleep deprived parents, hearing the pediatrician recommend adding a spoonful of cereal to make the baby sleep all night is music to their ears.  That is just plain wrong on so many levels.  Stuffing them with undigestible carbohydrates is a recipe for disaster.

So, if not cereal, what are the best, first foods for baby and when should you start introducing them?  First of all, don’t be in a rush to start giving your baby food.  Some babies are ready at 6-7 months and others not until 9-10 months.  Look for signs from your child.  Is he able to sit up on his own?  Is he showing interest in what you are eating?  Does he swallow any of the food or is his tongue thrust reflex still too strong, causing him to spit it all back out?  If he’s not ready at 6 months or even 9 months, don’t fret!  Breast milk is a complete food if mom is eating whole foods with plenty of proteins and healthy fats.

Babies need healthy fats for brain development from easily digested foods.  Soft eggs yolks  (preferably pasture raised), and ripe avocados are both great first food choices. Bananas contain high levels of amylase and have a ton of nutrients for your growing baby.  Steamed, pureed vegetables (introducing one at a time), are also good choices.  We usually recommend trying most of the vegetables first and then adding fruits.  Some babies aren’t anxious to eat that broccoli or those green beans when they have been consistently given only sweet foods.  Babies also need protein to fuel their tremendous growth.  Free-range, organic meats can be added next.  Be sure that the pieces are very tiny or pureed.

We recommend waiting until your child is around two years old before introducing grains.  A good rule of thumb is to wait until their molar teeth are fully developed.  This is a pretty good indication that their digestive systems are mature enough to produce the amylase necessary to break those grains down.  As with any food, look for immediate reactions to determine possible food sensitivities.